Takes From Out Of This World

The (hopefully) interesting thoughts of a college kid.

What’s in There?

Almost every day I walk down the campus mall, and I stare into the large windows of the Krone Center. I have never once stepped into the oddly shaped building until today.

Caden Schulte and I were greeted by Carly Hanson, for the university. She is the Associate VP for Marketing and Communication. She told us what goes on in the building, explaining that the departments Marketing/Communications, Career Services, Alumni Relations, Web Development, and Sports Information are all housed in the Krone Center. There are about eight people who work here, not including around 15 student interns. 

It’s a very modern building, with a lot of glass inside the building. Everything there had a modern finish, with a couch and a couple of chairs in the middle of the common space. All of the officers are around this common area, with windows facing inside of it. 

There is a sink as well as a snack bar in the common area, too. Doritos, cookies, and fruit snacks, just to name a few of them. I was told anyone can have them, so I grabbed a bag of chips to put in my bag for later. I told them I would be coming back for more later.

One of the things I noticed as I walked in is that the place smells and looks clean. They must do a solid job of keeping the place looking nice.

In addition, by the snack bar, there is a lot of Morningside swag items. There are tumblers, hats, license plates, and pins.

Descriptive Assignment: Monster Buddies Fruit Snacks

If you have never had a fruit snack before, you’re missing out. I’m not sure I could even attempt to estimate how many packs I ate as a child as I would eat at least a pack each day after school.

I have never tried Kelloggs Monster Buddies before, but they are similar to many of the other fruit snacks I have had.

Not sure what a fruit snack is?

They are small, no more than a half-inch wide or tall, and come in the colors green, yellow, red, and orange. While they are solid, they are easily mendable and bendable, almost like gelatin.

Each of these Monster Buddies is designed to look like, well, a monster. A cute monster, though. They are pleasing to the eye, like a monster drawn up for a kid’s movie.

I would’ve thought they would have been easier to chew, but they offered some resistance to the initial bite. Each of the colors had its own flavors, none of which I am able to distinguish.

Homecoming: A Week In Review

Unlike last year, this year’s Morningside Homecoming Week was filled with events, prizes, and lots of entertainment. 

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morningside wasn’t able to fully celebrate the 2020 Homecoming as much as most students would have liked to have seen. This year things were able to return back to normal.

All of the Homecoming events were sponsored and planned by the Morningside Activities Council (MAC), the student-led group in charge of providing “quality entertainment as well as educational opportunities to the students of Morningside College,” according to their Constitution.

Emma Hannasch, the President of MAC, said Homecoming Week “went really well.” In regards to the turnout, she said, “it was exciting to see the large attendance numbers and it was an amazing feeling honoring President Reynders and Robin throughout the week.”

Starting the first-ever Morningside University Homecoming Week off on Monday was the creation of custom street signs. An annual Homecoming event, students were able to go to the Yockey Room in the Olson Student Center and customize words and the design of these signs.

“I’ve gone to this event every year so far, and it’s one of my favorites,” said Alex Freeman, a junior. “I have one from each year hanging in my room still.” 

Tuesday brought the annual Homecoming Coronation followed by the first-ever lip sync battle contest.

Students voted for who they thought should be on the Homecoming Court, and the top five men and women were chosen from the senior class to be on the Court.

The men on the Court consisted of Braxton Hinders, James Spicer, Tyler Carney, Carter Anderson, Tyler Anderson, and Drew Binning. The women on the Court consisted of Marissa Hernandez, Sophia Peppers, Hannah Capps, Lindi Pojar, Rachel Barkema, and Betsy Ridout. 

In the end, Hinders was chosen to be the first every Morningside University Homecoming King and Hernandez as the first-ever Queen.

“It was such an honor to elected King,” said Hinders. “I never really thought it would happen, to be honest.”

After hundreds of pictures were taken and hugs were given, it was time for the lip sync battle.  

Five groups participated in the contest, which was judged by President John Reynders, his wife Robin, Dr. David Elder, Wendy Wilde, and Shari Benson. 

The winning group was comprised of Ridge Hoffman, James Evans, Brian Nathaniel, Bess Telfer, Kirstin Verplanke, and Zach Craig. The group sang “Summer Nights” from Grease. 

On Wednesday night, the annual Homecoming bingo event was held. Unlike previous years, this year it had to be held in the Yockey Room. Unfortunately, this also coincided with the largest ever turnout for bingo, with over 310 students showing up.

“Yockey, unfortunately, was not meant to hold much more than that 200 number, causing some frustration from MAC and the attendees as well,” Hannasch said in regards to the event. “MAC has formally apologized to those in attendance and hopes to see everybody at future events!“

On Friday night, magician/mentalist West Mathison entertained students with his tricks in Epply Auditorium.

“I really like going to watch magicians, and Mathison didn’t disappoint,” said Freeman.

On Saturday night, a live band was brought in to play for students to show off their voices singing karaoke.

“It was great to see another event for students to gather at, relax their mind, and have fun at,” said Sam Petersen, a senior who attended the event. 

The first 75 attendants at the karaoke event were given a free MAC blanket.

“I love the blanket, and I’m going to treasure it forever,” said Petersen.

After the conclusion of a long and busy week, Hannasch had some thoughts about how MAC was able to grow. 

“The biggest things learned for MAC during homecoming week this year was to just roll with the punches. We aren’t going to know everything in advance and that’s okay. Our focus needs to not only be on the students having a good time but the MAC team as well.”

News Comment #6

Most Abortions in Texas Are Banned Again After Court Ruling

This article, written by J. David Goodman, was published U.S. section of the New York Times. It details how a federal appeals court reinstated the Texas ban on almost all abortions that had been blocked by multiple lower courts.

The author uses quotes in this article to present both sides of the argument. He quoted the spokeswoman for the organization Texas Right to Life, who lobbied in favor of the bill. He also quoted the president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, who oppose the law. He lays out the situation in an unbiased manner, as well.

News Comment #5

A Year After ‘Defund’, Police Departments Get Their Money Back

This article, written by J. David Goodman, was published in the U.S. section of the New York Times. It talks about police departments across the country saw their funding get slashed in response to the killing of George Floyd last year. However, this year, those same departments are getting their funding back in response to rising levels of crime in major cities.

This article utilizes a decent amount of quotes. The author quotes people such as the executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, Chief of Police in Dallas, TX, and a worried barber from south Dallas. The quotes are all fine, and the author presents both sides of the argument through these quotes. As a fan of reading about politics, I enjoyed this article.

Gonsler Interview

Professor John Gonsler came to one Morningside class on Tuesday to speak about his journey to working in higher education.

Gonsler, currently an associate professor of criminal justice at Morningside University, has been teaching for just under a decade. However, this wasn’t his original plan after graduating high school.

A member of law enforcement in Flint, Michigan for two years, Gonsler switched to being a correctional officer because he was not satisfied at the sheriff’s department. His stint as a CO was also brief, working for only six months before resigning. Gonsler spent a considerable amount of time recounting his horror stories from working in a prison.

Gonsler then went to Ferris State University, located in Big Rapids, Michigan. However, after only one year, he transferred because he “fucking hated it” at the university.

After his short stint at Ferris State, Gonsler transferred to Michigan State and was able to complete a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in only one year. In order to accomplish this, he had to take classes throughout the summer months.

Immediately after getting his bachelor’s degree, Gonsler went on to attain his Master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice at Indiana State University. During his time working on his degree, Gonsler became penpals with someone a majority of people might be afraid to receive mail from: Theodore John Kaczynski, the Unabomber.

“I might be the only person in America to happy to receive mail from the Unabomber,” Gonsler said of his communications with Kaczynski. The two exchanged five letters to each other before Kaczynski stopped responding.

After graduating with a Master’s degree, Gonsler went on to become an associate instructor at Indiana University for a couple of years. However, he decided it was time to move on.

Gonsler applied to become a full-time professor at 33 different schools in 2020: Morningside was one of two that was in the process of starting a criminal justice department.

When he came to visit Morningside, Gonsler said he could tell the school wants the new criminal justice to succeed and that “everyone seemed great and onboard. When I started talking to the people here, it made my decision pretty easy.”

Gonsler is now in his second year teaching Morningside. When asked what his favorite part about being a professor was, he stated he really enjoyed teaching the introduction level criminal justice class as he was able to meet and speak with students outside the major.

After he was finished speaking, Elizabeth Obermeier said, “I thought he was interesting and kept your attention, although whether it was because of his colorful language or because of his content is up for debate.”

Gonsler is currently working towards completing his PhD in criminal justice through Indiana University. He hopes to have this completed by the end of the year.

Recent Conversation

Before I left for class this morning, I spoke with one of my roommates about what his plans were for today.

Brenick Hoppe, an accounting major here at Morningside, was sitting at the table eating banana bread and working on an assignment due at noon.

Hoppe had just gotten a haircut yesterday, so I complimented him on his nice cut.

I asked him what he was planning on doing today. Hoppe told me he had a class later and then practice after that. He also said he probably wouldn’t see me until tonight as I was really busy today as well.

Good Conversations

I set out on my mission, walking out of the library and heading towards the Olson Student Center. On my way there, I encountered a man sitting on the bench by the fountain, with his eyes closed and looked to be enjoying the beautiful day.

I tapped him on the shoulder a couple of times and introduced myself and what I was here to do. Surprisingly, he wasn’t upset that I interrupted his peaceful afternoon snooze.

He introduced himself as Sam Petersen, a senior political science and business double major. He also said it’s been a stressful day, and he just needed a minute to sit down by himself.

I then asked him for what I was searching for: a favorite Morningside memory.

The question seemed to catch Petersen off-guard. He sat there for a bit, seemingly lost in thought. After a bit, it seemed as if he settled on an answer.

“I would have to say going to the 2018 Football National Championship game in Daytona Beach, Florida.”

Petersen, at the time a member of the Morningside marching band, was invited to go and black at halftime of the game.

“It was fun because we got to see the football team win the national championship, and I was able to show off my trombone skills at halftime.”

After this, we parted ways, and I was on to get my next victim.

I had class in Lewis Hall next, but before going to class I went downstairs to use the restroom. This is where I found the next person.

Just as I am heading downstairs, I encounter someone walking out of the restroom. I stopped him, introduced myself, and stated I needed to ask him a question.

Again, he didn’t seem to be angry that he was stopped just after using the restroom. An outgoing person, he introduced himself as Alex Freeman, a junior business and political science double-major.

After some small talk, I posed my question to him: tell me your favorite knock-knock joke.

Freeman initially laughed at this, thinking I was joking. I assured him I was in fact not joking, even showing him the paper with the words “knock-knock joke” appearing on it. He couldn’t believe it.

“I for sure thought you were going to ask me something serious,” Freeman explained, stifling a few giggles.

After spending some time thinking, he initiated the joke.

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?

“Ach.”

“Ach who?”

“God bless you.”

Now it was my turn to laugh. I was trying to follow the joke, but the ending entirely caught me off-guard.

After telling him what a good joke he had and sharing a couple more laughs, I parted ways and went up to my class.

The COVID-19 Experience From a Student’s Perspective

One student attending Morningside University had much to say about his freshman year and the effects COVID-19 had on it.

Caden Schulte, a mass communications major from Sioux City, Iowa, was only a freshman in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“To be honest, I didn’t really make a lot of life changes,” Schulte said about how his life was different because of the disease. “I’m more of an introvert, and I stay at my house a lot anyways. COVID forcing me to stay home wasn’t a big change.”

Schulte so far has been one of the lucky ones, having never caught the virus so far. He has had tested twice, both times negative, and been quarantined both of those times.

Being a snapper on the football team has brought its own set of unique changes to his life as well.

“I was going to play on a lot of the junior varsity football games in a normal year, but because of COVID, we only had two of those games,” Schulte explained. “Since the travel roster was cut down, I never got to go to away games.”

In addition, Schulte wasn’t even able to attend some of the home games.

“The stadium capacity limit forced me to miss even the home games that we had. I never got the experience of being a full-time student in that sense, I guess.”

Living only a few blocks from campus, Schulte has been a commuter in his tenure at Morningside so far.

“I don’t think there has been a big difference from my experience than from those who lived on campus. I guess people on campus had to wear a mask while I didn’t when I was at home.”

Moving to the topic of masks, Schulte had a few thoughts on their effectiveness.

“I wasn’t big on masks. I’m not really sure they do a ton and were more of a hassle than anything else. I would always forget them and have to run back to my car and grab one before class.”

In the end, Schulte held a positive outlook on his first year at Morningside.

“I missed out on a few of the typical freshman experiences, but I was able to meet a lot of people through the football team. It was a great time.”

News Comment #4

House approves $1 billion for the Iron Dome as Democrats feud over Israel.

This article, written by Catie Edmondson, in the politics section of the New York Times, details the vote by U.S. House today to approve $1 billion in new funding for Israel’s Iron Dome system. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the measure.

I think the lede does a good job of describing the situation. Not sure if the use of the word “bitter” is necessary for it, though. It provides a good quote of someone opposing and supporting the measure. I think it is interesting because I love learning about Israel, and I care about politics in America. This is a good intersection between the two areas.

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